Study: More than half of police killings were misclassified between 1980 and 2018


(NewsNation Now) — More than half of police killings in the United States between 1980 and 2018 were mislabeled, according to a new study.

The research, which was conducted by the University of Washington and published in the British medical journal The Lancet, also highlighted the racial disparity in police-involved deaths.

The study determined nearly 31,000 people of all races died from police violence during that nearly 40-year period researchers focused on. In the process of assessing those deaths, researchers discovered more than 55% percent of them were misreported or mislabeled — more specifically as having nothing to do with police violence.

The study also suggests Black Americans are 3.5 times more likely to die in a police-involved killing than white Americans.

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“I think for a long time, people have understood that there has been mislabeling, mischaracterizations and sometimes just avoiding the actual and true data as it relates to police killings, particularly in the Black and brown communities. So it’s not a shocking result of finding,” said Marq Claxton, a former NYPD officer, and director of public relations and political affairs for the Black Law Enforcement Alliance.

The new study comes on the heels of police reform talks breaking down in Congres after months of negotiating. Claxton said nearly every reform package that has been proposed includes some component that involves additional reporting and auditing of information that comes from police agencies.

While the study stopped examining data in 2018, Claxton believes the mislabeling of police killings is “definitely still happening.”


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